The last letter written and signed by hand by the late Princess of Wales is set to go under the hammer this Monday, the 28th of April.
“Dear Dilys,” begins the letter, which is addressed to Dilys Cheetham, a fellow humanitarian campaigner from North Yorkshire who was hijacked by armed paramilitaries. Written on paper bearing the official Kensington Palace letterhead, the letter is dated 11 August 1997, less than three weeks before Diana’s untimely death in a car crash in Paris.
Dilys Cheetham was the founder of the charity Nobody’s Children. She worked with children in hospitals and schools in Mostar, providing them with medical supplies and toiletries. She passed away in 2006, at the age of 65.
In her letter, Diana writes about her appreciation for Dilys’s work with landmines in Bosnia. The Princess herself had visited Bosnia three days earlier as part of her crusade against landmines.
She writes: “I could not help but be moved deeply by the experience which hardened my resolve to ensure that the world does not forget that those who have been so needlessly maimed by these terrible weapons will need care and support for many years to come.”
The note was first sold by Ms. Cheetham in a charity auction in 1999 to raise money for landmine victims. It was bought by celebrity photographer Jason Fraser, who later sold it to a private collector in 2007, on the tenth anniversary of Diana’s death.
This valuable piece of history will now be auctioned by Fellows Auctioneers in Birmingham, and is expected to fetch as much as £3,000. Mark Huddleston, head of antiques at Fellows, said: “This is an incredibly important letter in terms of modern history, more so than the Edward VIII love letter we sold for £5,000. The letter is moving not only because of its heartfelt message but also because it would have been the last ever written by her.”
Previously, in 2012, two letters written by Diana, Princess of Wales to her stepmother Countess Spencer were set to be auctioned, but were withdrawn due to objections from her family.